The rushes are black by the river bed,
And the sheep and the cattle stand
Wistful-eyed, where the waters were,
In a waste of gravel and sand;
Or pass o'er their dying and dead to slake
Their thirst at the slimy pool.
Shall they pine and perish in pangs of drought
While Thy river, O God, is full.
The fields are furrowed, the seed is sown,
But no dews from the heavens are shed;
And where shall the grain for the harvest be?
And how shall the poor be fed?
In waterless gullies they winnow the earth,
New-turned by the miner's tool;
And the way-farer faints 'neath his lightened load,1
Yet the river of God is full.
For us, O Father, from tropic seas,
Let the clouds be filled that shed
Rough rains upon Andes' eastward slope,
Soft snows on Himàleh's head.
Freight for us as for others thy dark-winged fleet,
That soon by the waters cool,
We may say with gladness, “Our need was great,
But the river of God was full!”